The Groundsman

January 2016

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IOG BEST PRACTICE 22 the Groundsman January 2016 Visit for more information and digital editions Year-round aeration The pitches sit on a sandy loam topsoil over a broadly chalk and fl int base. There is no artifi cial drainage installed on site and therefore the pitches are prone to compaction when wet. So, to encourage better infi ltration, this is counteracted by a year-round concerted programme of aeration using various tine sizes to various depths and the application of sand dressings with a uniform particle size (rather than the more organic 50/50 mix with a greater number of fi ne particles). "I fi rmly believe that pitches will improve if the soil is managed correctly; My favourite meal Sunday roast My favourite fi lm The Big Lebowski My favourite book The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins My interests outside of work Spending time with the Mrs, my boy Stanley and the bump (baby no. 2 on the way!) The most challenging part of my career Completing my BSc with Honours following the foundation degree with Myerscough – all in fi ve years of graft but well worth it Who I most admire in, or out, of the industry and why Chris Wood - ECB who has given me a lot of good advice throughout my career. I also admire others who have taken the time to assist in the development of young groundsman (the IOG young board is a positive move by the IOG). Also those groundsman that innovate - helping the industry to move forwards - it is this that keeps the job interesting. The best piece of advice I can give to IOG members We have a saying at Whitgift, coined by my deputy Peter Booth, termed 'small margins' as a team we try to apply it to all that we do and it helps us to always make improvements however small. It means you never stand still in your drive for top quality surfaces. Facts and Favourites i Whitgift School has high sporting expectations, which complement its academic expectations get that right and the soil will look after the grass", adds Daniel. Regular overseeding is undertaken with a Limagrain mixture that has been especially developed to meet Daniel's wear-tolerance demands and to gradually reduce the annual meadow grass that currently pervades the playing surfaces. "Every pitch here is effectively for dual use, so I needed a sward that would perform well for winter sports (at over 25mm high) and, in the summer, at a lower (14mm) cutting height on outfi elds. We effectively chose grasses that were rated in the STRI tables and Dutch turf grass list as performing at low cutting heights and having good winter wear tolerance, to ideally give the best of both worlds. I've used Limagrain seed successfully in the past and the company's bespoke mix of three perennial ryegrasses is so far working very well." The schedule of continual use leaves little time for renovations – "very often we get only two to four weeks to turn pitches around between winter and summer sports" – and last year's schedule, for example, included summer schools for football and tennis as well as training camps for winter sports.

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